Carrick Rangers’ rise and top-flight return under Niall Currie has failed to follow the traditional script to date.
And, having secured Bluefin Sport Championship promotion last season against the odds, Currie is keen to continue to go against the expected narrative on the senior stage.
Following defeats to Crusaders and Larne, Currie’s Carrick claimed a welcome win last weekend against an Institute side expected to stand alongside Rangers in the relegation reckoning.
Now Currie must come up with a plan to gain some ground against a Cliftonville outfit tipped to finish the Danske Bank Premiership flying high.
It is a challenge he wants his Rangers squad to relish rather than go in with any fear over Cliftonville’s reputation.
“The Premiership is new to so many of our players but we want to relax and enjoy everything as a reward for getting to this point,” said Currie. “We looked at the Institute game feeling there was a chance of winning but I do not believe you can turn anything on or off, so must view every match as an opportunity to win no matter the opposition.
“We have earned the right to take part against every team in the Premiership.”
Paddy McLaughlin, thanks to his past experiences as boss of newly-promoted Institute, is aware of the risks involved in facing a club playing without pressure.
“People outside may look on it and say Carrick have nothing to lose and we need only turn up but we owe our fans after last week’s derby defeat to Crusaders and we owe it to the club to get those points,” said McLaughlin. “Like everyone, Carrick will see home games as an opportunity for positive results.
“We will make sure we do not visit Carrick with any complacency.”